A Chocolate Mystery

{Note: Personal transformation stories from Polaris Institute members are published anonymously to allow the members to share openly and honestly. This story is from “Cora S.”)

The first thing I decided to work on when I started with the Polaris Institute was chocolate. It wasn’t a huge problem in my life, but I thought it made sense to start with something that I could clearly see and measure…and that wasn’t such a big project that it would take years to tackle. So, chocolate became my initial Polaris Intention. It turned out to be a much more impactful thing than I imagined at the time.

My starting issue with chocolate was that 3-4 times a week, I found myself craving it. Occasionally, I would even find that I was eating it without realizing I’d gotten up from my desk to go get it. It was almost like I’d wake up from a dream at random times during the workday and either realize I wanted chocolate or that I was eating it! There was obviously something going on that I wasn’t aware of.

Moving from judging to sleuthing

Step one in my Polaris ProcessTM efforts was to just notice what was going on in my day when I noticed those chocolate events. Where was I? What had I just been doing? What was I feeling? What was I thinking about? With the Polaris institute concepts, I was able to change those moments when I found myself wanting or eating chocolate from self-criticism (damn it, I’m doing it again! Why do I keep doing this?) into curiosity (oh, this is one of those moments…what is happening around me?). The “chocolate moments” became interesting mysteries to investigate, which turned them from a negative to a positive.

The clues to the mystery

What I found was that there was a pattern. And in fact, it wasn’t just a pattern, it was a person. Let’s call him “John.” I began noticing that John was almost always around when I had a chocolate moment. Sometimes, it was an email interaction with him. Other times, it was a meeting we were both in. Or, there were even times when he wasn’t around but I was talking with someone else about something related to him. John triggered me in a way that caused me to look for chocolate as a calming agent. Intriguing!

Case closed

In the end, it turned out that there was no chocolate problem at all. Chocolate was simply a symptom of my reaction to the way John irritated me. I just hadn’t noticed the connection before. Through my Polaris Institute work, I was able to begin working on the real, root issue. How I’ve changed my relationship with and reactions to John is a story I can tell at another time, but the thing I love most is that the craving of chocolate has gone away—in a completely unexpected way!  Now, a bowl of chocolate sits on the counter for guests and it’s never touched…except by guests!


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